Sunday, January 31, 2021

In the Kitchen in January

Political events and unfounded hopes for covid vaccinations have preoccupied my thoughts during January. Because isolation is still necessary, in fact increasingly necessary, we have continued to cook and eat all our meals at home, but without a lot of novelty. New items we have purchased include things like different face masks rather than different kitchen gadgets! The best I can do for "In My Kitchen" is a summary of what we ate during the month.

Len's experiments in baking from The Rye Baker have continued, with lots of delicious rye breads as well as pizza dough and crusty sourdough loaves. As he creates sourdough discard, I try to use it up by making pancakes, both sweet and savory. I've posted plenty of photos of these breads in the past -- here are a few more.

One of Len's great rye breads served with anchovy butter.

Salad and tangerines accompany the bread.

Fresh out of the oven!

A loaf made from light rye flour and "first clear"
wheat flour: new ingredients this month.
Rye bread, eggplant with stir-fry noodles, and grapes for dessert.

Ottolenghi's many fascinating recipes continue to be a favorite choice for adding new flavors and flavor combinations to our diet.
From Ottolenghi's book Jerusalem:
a sheet pan dish: chicken with fennel and tangerines.
The only chicken I cooked in January.

The chicken dish, served with rice. (Recipe here)

From Ottolenghi's Flavor: potatoes and eggs
with gochujang sauce and miso.

Grocery delivery and a few items picked up by a friend continue to be our source of all food. In January, we didn't even order any take-out food -- we ordered from Whole Foods via and we cooked it all in the kitchen. Unfortunately, although the Whole Foods ordering continues to be reliable, Amazon has discontinued Prime Pantry, and the products I was buying from that service are now much more expensive on Amazon, if available at all. In the following photo you can see the last Pantry box awaiting recycling. 

Amazon Prime Pantry:
formerly a great way to get many brand-name foods
like V-8 juice and Hellman's mayo.

Soup has been a welcome lunch food as the weather descends into its most wintery period, though luckily, we had a relatively mild December and first half of January, with snow at near-record lows. Soup is about the least photogenic food I know of, so no pics!

A more cheerful subject: Valentine's Day is coming soon! At the end of the month, we added some Valentine placemats and decor to our table. It's nice to see them during the worsening weather as we fret because the Michigan distribution of vaccine is very slow and uncertain.

On the table: placemats that say "I Love You"
and some bright heart-shaped fairy lights.

The Valentine decor with an exceptional meat meal:
mashed potatoes, yogurt sauce, condiments, AND
lamb chops that I had in the freezer before the pandemic began.
(OK, I should have used them sooner, but they were fine.)

Savory pancakes containing corn and onion, with avocado salad.
Valentine decor again.
"I love you" placemats once more, with salad, rice, and shrimp.

To conclude with a happy thought: one of the flocks of robins that spend the winter in wooded areas
came to our neighborhood last week, and feasted on the berries in a nearby garden.

This blog post © 2021 mae sander, to be shared with “In My Kitchen” hosted by Sherry’s blog.


Angie's Recipes said...

Len is such a great artisan bread baker. That rye boule looks bakery perfect. Those lamb chops are so juicy and tender. Another favourite!

David M. Gascoigne, said...

The way you improvise with food makes me simply say, "Get the spare room ready. I am moving in!"

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

You are eating so much better than I during this pandemic.

Anne (cornucopia) said...

Delicious looking food and great Robin photo.

DVArtist said...

Ohhh this is a beautiful food post. Everything looks so good, especially the breads. Have a great day.

Divers and Sundry said...

I don't care for rye breads, but I'm fascinated by that chicken and tangerine dish. I hadn't considered the possibility, but now I'm seeing a real need for napkins for Valentine's Day that'd go with our red plates. It makes a lovely tablescape.

Your robin makes for a pretty winter scene. Snow pictures is likely the only real snow we'll see here.

Debra Eliotseats said...

Is there any state that has it together regarding the vaccine. I know of at least a couple of thirty-somethings that have gotten it here just because of whom they know. (They're not healthcare workers.) I've been trying to figure out the sign-up process a state away for my 80 year old dad. That's problematic, too.

Sorry for the rant. The meals and bread (especially) look delicious!

We haven't seen any robins yet. Hope to soon!

Sherry's Pickings said...

thanks once again for being here in IMK, Mae. Sorry to hear that daily life is still so restricted for you. We are just so lucky here in australia and queensland to be so well looked after by our government and health dept. Looks like you ate lots of good food anyway. And that robin is so pretty. we have scarlet robins down south, but not up here in sunny QLD. take care!

Tandy | Lavender and Lime ( said...

The photo of the Robin looks like it could win awards! Our first vaccines arrive today but we are not in line to get ours anytime soon.

Nancy Chan said...

Love to see the different types of bread baked by Len. If only my hubby loves bread as much as I do. Delicious looking food which is making me hungry now. Great photo of the robin. Have a great new week.

Nancy Chan said...

I think my comment went missing. I like the different types of bread baked by Len. If only hubby loves bread as much as I do. The delicious food is making me hungry now. Have an enjoyable new week.

Eva Taylor said...

We were rather relieved that thing went off without a hitch in early January. The vaccine rollout is pretty slow here too. Hopes for a fall trip seem to be vanishing before our eyes. Our friends in Arizona have already got their first shot. Now I’m making plans to build a permanent polycarbonate roof over our patio to help extend the outdoor entertaining season, so far we’ve been dining outside with friends up until the polar votex hit. Although a sold roof won’t help the chill, it will allow us to entertain in the rain and snow. I’m feeling we have another year of this crap.

My name is Erika. said...

You eat so well Mae. Someone in your house is very creative in the kitchen. Love those dishes too. (The grey and blue ceramic ones.)

Jeanie said...

Don't tell me you don't have much novelty on your table. Trust me, it is exponentially more novel and interesting than anything at Cafe Jeanie of late! (Although I did make a nice soy glazed salmon last night, but that was a rarity!) It looks delicious AND gorgeous. I still say we all want to eat at Mae's!

Sorry you haven't heard on the vaccine. Our county/McLaren are doing a pretty good job of things so far and I'm relieved, although I know it will be quite sometime even AFTER I get both doses that I'll feel comfortable in a group or with others. Especially after I read the Q&A in the NYT this weekend. But even a little more flex will be a very big deal!

Still crushing on your Love placemats. And that robin -- exquisite! You should enlarge and frame!

Unknown said...

Those rye loaves look amazing! are they mixed with ordinary baker's flour or does Len prefer a certain rye percentage? Here in Australia it's hard to get different varieties of rye as they all seemed to be lumped together as one type, and it tends to be a very pale "white" rye. Thank you for sharing the insights into your kitchen! take care there

Liz said...

Your table decorations are lovely and festive. The bright colors are welcome in this grey part of the year. I know exactly what you mean about meals becoming tedious, I am feeling the same way. The roll out here in California has been slow as well. I am registered on 3 sites and have yet to hear anything.

We have piles of cardboard boxes waiting to be recycled each week as we try to avoid going shopping. I think the shipping companies must be making out very well during the pandemic.

Shaheen said...

I am just going to echo what others have said, and that is Len is so skilled as an artisan bread baker, I am in great admiration and envious that you have your own home baker at home. The best i have is bread made from a bread machine!